Ed Sheeran insists Shape Of You copyright case was about 'standing up for what was right'

Virgin Radio

8 Apr 2022, 11:12

Credit: Rex

After winning his High Court case against his track Shape Of You, Ed Sheeran is coming clean about why he didn’t want to just settle the claim, and instead fought to win.

Early this week, a judge ruled in favour of Sheeran after he was accused of plagiarising the 2015 track Oh Why by Sami Chokri, who performs under the name Sami Switch. 

Chorki claimed the ‘Oh I’ hook in Shape Of You was "strikingly similar" to the ‘Oh Why’ in his own song.

Sheeran claimed he had no recollection of hearing Oh Why before making his track or before the legal case began. 

In his first interview since the ruling, the songwriter told Newsnight that he didn’t want to just settle the claim financially, but instead fight for a judgement. 

Sheeran explained: “The conversation around all of this is always about money. It’s not about money, this is about heart and honesty, it’s not about…win or lose we had to go to court, We had to stand up for what we thought was right.”

He admitted he’s now taken to recording his studio sessions as a way of defending his songwriting when claims come in after settling over his 2017 song Photograph, something which he ‘personally’ regrets.

After the claim on that song ended, the singer added: “I just stopped playing it. I felt weird about it, it kind of made me feel dirty. Now I just film everything, everything is on film.

“We’ve had claims come through on the songs and we go, well here’s the footage and you watch. You’ll see there’s nothing there.”

Referencing how songwriting has changed for Sheeran and his collaborators, he continued: “There’s the George Harrison point where he said he’s scared to touch the piano because he might be touching someone else’s note. There is definitely a feeling of that in the studio.

“I personally think the best feeling in the world is the euphoria around the first idea of writing a great song. That feeling has now turned into ‘Oh wait, let’s stand back for a minute’. You find yourself in the moment, second-guessing yourself.”

During the Shape Of You case, Mr Justice Zacaroli found Sheeran “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied the ‘Oh Why’ refrain for his own song, and while there were similarities, there were also “significant differences.”

The two musicologists tasked with analysing the tracks gave contrasting views, with one suggesting the songs were “distinctly different”, while the other insisted they both “contained significant similarities”.

Shape Of You ended up being the UK’s best-selling song of 2017, and Spotify’s most-streamed song ever.